Public Art Installation, 2016

Collaborators: OP-AL, Stephanie Imbeau, Hiroshi Jacobs, Rolled Almanza, Julieta Guillermet, Emily Silber

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The city of Salem, MA commissioned a multidisciplinary team of HiJAC, OP-AL, & Stephanie Imbeau to produce a three-month public art installation for the city’s historic Town Hall.

Water and wind built Salem. Water carried the fishermen in their boats to the shores of Salem to settle. Wind enabled Salem’s merchant ships to sail across the ocean. From these ships treasures and trade were brought and sold at Town Hall, building a seaside village into a city. TradeWind is conceived as a piece which both honors and celebrates the role that these elements and Town Hall have played in the growth of the city, creating a dynamic installation of spinning houses, combined to form the shape of Salem Town Hall.

These individual houses are made in two colors: Cyan and Yellow, Invoking the exotic waters of far-flung lands that provided importers with treasures and spices – such as jewelry and saffron – referenced in the yellow houses. Additionally, a magenta wave is painted on the field of poles through a process of projective mapping. Together the use, of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and White, serve as a reminder of the collectivity that is made up of its constituent parts much like the colors of the spectrum are combined from the four print colors of CMYK.

The houses are constructed from high density polyethylene you would find cladding a child’s book report. Through triangulated and curved folding, the silhouette of the house takes shape while merging with the helical nature of a vertical axis wind turbine.  During the daytime these houses showcase the fluid and changeable effects of wind and water while serving as a tribute to the fact that cities only exist as the sum of their parts.

This installation is both a nod to the past and a glimpse towards the future and a celebration of generations of individuals who have built and continue to build Salem.  op.AL, HiJAC, and Stephanie Imbeau received this commission from the City of Salem through an annual call for Architects + Artists. The piece will be on display throughout the summer and autumn of 2016. We would like to thank Deborah Greel, Lilian Hsu, Amanda Moore, and Kylie Sullivan of the City of Salem’s Art Commission for the support of this project as well as Mayor Kim Driscoll.